William nicol

William Nicol Drive has been renamed Winnie Mandela Drive.
Images via Twitter:

William Nicol Drive renaming: Long overdue or waste of money?

William Nicole Drive has officially been renamed as Winnie Mandela Drive. But South Africans have mixed feelings about the R250k project.

William nicol

William Nicol Drive has been renamed Winnie Mandela Drive.
Images via Twitter:

Depending on who you ask, renaming Johannesburg’s William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive has seen South Africans express strong opinions.

While some claim that the unveiling is “long overdue” following the struggle stalwart’s death five years ago, others claim it was a “wasteful expenditure.”

Others have brought up the significance behind both historical figures.


On Tuesday, 26 September, on what would have marked her 86th birthday, the late Winnie Mandela was commemorated when William Nicole Drive was officially renamed after her.

The event took place just one day after the death of her granddaughter, Zoleka Mandela, who died of cancer.

The renaming project cost the City of Johannesburg (COJ) R250 000 since it was approved in 2018.

According to IOL, COJ mayor Kabelo Gwamanda said at the unveiling: “This symbol marks not just the life of a heroine but a beacon of hope on which our history was defined. It is, however, in my view that South Africa was denied the opportunity to have the first female president on the African continent.

ALSO READ: Do you know: Who was William Nicol?

Gauteng Premier Penyaza Lesufi added: “This street is not about Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela. This street is about all of us. She is just a symbol of who we are and where we come from.

“If we had a choice, this street would carry the names of all our leaders, especially women who led our struggle against apartheid.”


According to EWN, William Nicol was the second chairperson of the Afrikaner Broederbond – a white nationalist organisation credited with formulating apartheid.

He was also a Dutch Reformed minister, theologian, educator, and Administrator of the Transvaal Province of South Africa.

He died in 1967.

Winnie Mandela was the second wife of South Africa’s first democratic president, Nelson Mandela. She was also an anti-apartheid activist and ANC politician.

She died in 2018 from complications of diabetes.


On Twitter or X.com, many South Africans spoke out about the William Nicol Drive renaming.

Many believed it was “long overdue.”

@FaithMangope: “William Nicol co-authored a book on segregation. Don’t accept the narrative that the names of these places mean nothing. Let the legacy of our oppressors die”.

@AlanNaidoo3: “Any name is better than the Broerbond founder.”

@mkhululi_simon: “Good move, rewrite history and let future generations remember Mam Winnie Madikizela.”

Others slammed the R250,000 price tag.

@spy_shop_sa: “The time, effort, and money spent on a road name change that will benefit no citizens but could have been spent on cleaning up the area, fixing potholes, and water shortage problems is mind-boggling and a clear case of mismanaging the nation finances!”

@its__mxo: “There are many roads named after Mandela, Winnie, Tambo, Biko, and all the others. Isn’t that enough already? Changing Nicol drive to Winnie Mandela Drive could cost millions, millions that could’ve been used for something better like fixing the potholes.”

@warrenfer1: “Typical ANC, waste money.”